When Rights Become Wrong

By Julie Roys

              As un-American as it sounds, I’m beginning to question the notion of unalienable rights – at least, how we understand those rights today.   Sure, it’s enshrined in our Declaration of Independence – that our Creator has endowed all men with certain “unalienable Rights.”  And, among these are “Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.”
            Yet today, people appeal to these rights to support gay marriage, abortion and even emancipation of children from parents.  In fact, in some countries, states have forced homeschooling families to put their children in public schools, citing children’s personal rights as their basis.               

            But it’s not just non-Christians who co-opt unalienable rights to serve ungodly purposes.  We wives often justify defying our husbands because submitting would violate our rights.  Similarly, children disobey their parents, concluding no one – not even their parents – has a right to restrict their personal freedom. 
            Almost all Americans are infected with notions of rights that contradict the way outlined in Scripture.  Yes, God created every human being in His image – and set rules respecting the dignity that connotes.  God dictated that no one can take another’s life.  He also restricted even kings from taking another’s property.  But, these so-called rights derive from God.  And, in this sense, they are not inherent in us, but contingent on Him.  As a result, we can’t possibly claim a personal right to defy God’s commands.   And, God retains the prerogative to revoke our rights at any time. 

            Truth is, God’s less concerned with our rights than He is His glory.  And, as His followers, this must be our priority too.  The Apostle Paul understood this.  That’s why he could command women to submit to their husbands; children, their parents; and even slaves, their earthly masters.  As believers, we don’t serve ourselves; we serve God.  Yes, we should lobby for a just society – and yes, we should respect the dignity of others.  But, Jesus said, “If anyone would come after me, he must deny himself . . .”  Our rights are not absolute.  And, if we think they are, then they’re idols.  


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